The move comes after BuzzFeed compiled a small catalog of disapproving tweets, arguing that the notifications are not only 'useless', but a kind of cognitive overload. Facebook promised it would simplify Messenger, and it's already made good on its word with enhanced quick replies. This is another welcome step.
By forcing users to download a separate Messenger app, Facebook essentially created a situation where two apps are vying for user attention, and ultimately, prolonging screen time. Digital health and phone addiction are hot topics right now, with Apple and Google actively working to address these issues. With some prodding, it appears Facebook is listening too:
"We've found that many people have appreciated getting a notification when a friend joins Messenger." A representative said to TechCrunch. "That said, we are working to make these notifications even more useful by employing machine learning to send fewer of them over time to people who enjoy getting them less."
While Facebook's decision to scale back notifications might mean a few less pop-ups, they aren't being completely removed. Facebook does need to keep engagement levels up after all.